Can I Get More Hemp?
Companies are using hemp
to make products that are better in all respects--including better
value--than synthetic products. Although there are hundreds of companies
manufacturing hemp products and thousands of retail stores carrying
them, many consumers ask "Where Can I Get More Hemp?" The primary
reason that HempStores.com was created was to help consumers find
stores in their area that carry hemp products.
Hemp is being used in
products by companies like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, The Body
Shop Adidas and Mercedes Benz. The hemp industry can take advantage
of this fact by cooperating to produce a national marketing campaign.
The consumers most receptive to hemp are a group demographers call
"Cultural Creatives" and they get their information from print media
and the internet.
Repetition is really
powerful in advertising. If the same logo is everywhere the hemp
industry can collectively make enough impressions on the entire
country much more quickly and get consumers to at least decide whether
or not they are interested in finding out more about hemp.
Where Can I Get More
Hemp? was an idea that came out of a brainstorming session at
the Hemp Expo intended to come up with an inexpensive way to conduct
co-op marketing. A number of companies have tested it in New York,
San Francisco, Seattle, and LA, and the results have been good.
Camera ready logo slicks
available from the HIA and they are free for you to use for promotional
purposes with no strings attached.
an EPS version for printing (596k)
(Click and hold on the above link and choose "Save to disk", or
right click on the above link and choose "Save this link as")
Every time you use this
logo in an ad, you get the collective benefit of its nationwide
use, and you also increase the value to everyone using this ad.
A successful workable
model of this plan already exists. There is another industry where
most of the retail stores are independent stores in downtown areas
that have somehow held there own against gigantic manufacturers
and superstores. That is the hardware industry, and the reason they
have been able to do this is True Value. True Value is really a
giant co-op marketing venture that relies on the repetition of a
simple logo to keep small independent companies in business. There
are even web sites put up by independent hardware stores promoting
other True Value hardware stores. These stores are promoting each
other because they know that co-opetition works.
Like it or not, the
futures of all of the hemp companies are bound together. Different
companies at the raw materials, manufacturing, and retail levels
are competitors. However, they are also what is known as complementors.
A competitor makes your company less valuable to your customers
and suppliers. A complementor makes your product more valuable to
your customers and suppliers. A perfect example of complementors
are Microsoft and Intel. Companies who sell to the same market are
complementors in developing the market, but competitors in dividing
the market. They use collective energy to grow the industry, then
competitive energy to divide the market.
At this stage in our
industry, we are all complementors. The fact that a number of companies
manufacture competing hemp products makes it worthwhile for people
to go into and stay in the raw material business, the retail business,
and the media business. No company can exist in a vacuum. It's the
same principle that explains why the Eco Pavilion only works when
a lot of companies participate: It becomes worthwhile for people
to travel from Japan, Portugal, and Seattle to New York if they
know they can order a season ahead from sixty companies in one quick
The easiest way to increase
hemp industry sales is to get more consumers to go into stores that
carry hemp products. Vehicles like trade publications and trade
shows already serve as co-operative ventures for manufacturers to
find more stores to carry products, but no co-ordinated campaign
exists to get consumers into those stores.
Advertisements in widely
read consumer publications like Rolling Stone or People or National
Geographic can attract the attention of millions, but they are also
very expensive. They are only worth it for companies confident that
consumers know they can go to one of several local stores and find
their products--Absolut, the Army, Phillip Morris, and Nike.
It's not worth it for
most companies to advertise nationally if they don't do mail order
and can't tell consumers where to buy their products without listing
every independent store by name, which would be way too much information
for a consumer ad. As a result, there is no consumer advertising
of hemp products in national magazines, and thus these magazines
give the hemp industry no coverage.
A full page ad in a
national magazine can cost $50,000 per issue. However, we can place
a small ad in the classified section that can be very cost effective.
If we use the Where Can I Get More Hemp? logo in classified ads
month after month in national publications we may be able to get
across our message to a better part of the country.
It doesn't make sense
for a retailer to advertise nationally. By the same token, it doesn't
make sense for manufacturers to participate in local and regional
advertising at this stage of our industry. If retailers use the
Where Can I Get More Hemp? logo in their local ads, they are piggybacking
on a national ad campaign and the repetition will directly benefit
With collective promotion
of the hempstores.com site, it could become a snap for any potential
hemp consumers to find a local hemp store, while those interested
in the hemp business can contact the HIA, who does an incredible
job of publishing leads.
A cost effective way
to promote this site is to place the following 1" display ad in
national magazines (insert actual logo):
Where Can I Get More
For your local hemp retailer visit
This ad campaign is
funded by a two-tiered sponsorship system--a sponsorship of $400
per month gets your company's icon and link on the front page and
sponsors page, and $150 per month gets your company's link on the
sponsors page. Candi Penn, at the HIA Office, will be collecting
and disbursing the funds for this project.
If 6-8 companies sign
up as Home Page Sponsors and 20-30 companies sign up as Sponsorship
Page Sponsors the ad can be placed monthly in major magazines, such
as Rolling Stone, Spin, Vibe, Wired, George, Utne Reader, Mother
Jones, and E.
In addition, we can
purchase a banner that will appear on Yahoo and other search engines
every time the word "hemp" is searched. The marketing expenses will
be prioritized based on a monthly e-mail poll of the sponsors basing
decisions on lead generation information vis a vis costs.
Sponsors will be primarily
manufacturers but can be anybody. Manufacturers will benefit from
sponsorship because their icons will be seen by people interested
in wholesale purchase, or their products will be viewed by consumers
who know exactly where to buy them. The program in general benefits
them because it brings more people into stores to buy their products,
send cash and reorders back upstream.
Sponsorship will also
be attractive to mail order companies who won't necessarily benefit
from consumers who visit the retail stores. It will also appeal
to food and beverage companies who sell to a different distribution
channel than hemp stores.
As more companies sign
up, hempstores.com can advertise in more magazines.
Also, retailers can
use the program to reinforce national ads. Retailers are encouraged
to use the logo in their local ads as much as possible.
All hemp companies should
link to hempstores.com by putting the Where Can I Get More Hemp?
logo on their home page, like the Netscape or Free Speech logo.
Press releases announcing this will encourage the widespread proliferation
of this logo.
The hemp media can include
a Where Can I Get More Hemp? ad in their magazines and books, as
they stand to benefit as much as anyone from the growth of the industry
and they can pay for this advertising at a much better rate than
Finally, the New York
City hemp community has some exciting guerilla stunts planned to
promote this logo nationwide on television and radio. Several other
marketing ideas are bouncing around the internet and they can be
incorporated if someone is willing to do the leg work and deal with
finding sponsors. Worthwhile marketing ideas can compete with print
ads for hempstores.com sponsorship money.
Join us in making Hemp
accessible to the world -- easy to find, easy to buy, and easy to
pass on to others.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE